From the Vice President

May 2013

Planning activities for any club is not easy. BUT, when you are responsible for planning activities for 800+ people at a Grand National Meet, well you better have a glass of wine or two to steady your nerves. I found no wine was needed by the folks from the New England Region in planning their registration, welcoming reception, tours, the car show and judging and finally the Awards Banquet. These folks had a slew of volunteers, well-orchestrated tours and activities and a host hotel that knew how to serve and entertain a large group of folks. The 2013 CLC Grand National Meet was excellent! The only downside to the entire meet was the Boston traffic—Atlanta’s traffic is nothing compared to this city’s. But we survived.

We drove our 92 Fleetwood Brougham d’Elegance to Boston—taking two days to enjoy the trip and other smaller cities along the way. We spent our second night on the road in Mystic Seaport, CT. I’m ready to go back to Mystic; it’s a lovely old New England village with friendly folks, beautiful scenery and great, great seafood. Anyone love Lobsters? Abbotts Lobster-in-the-Rough serves all sizes of lobsters that are delicious!!!! We each had a 1 ½ lb steamed lobster for lunch at Abbotts, enjoying ourselves on a nice dock overlooking the water. Yummy, yummy. The next day we arrived at the Quincy Marriott, our host hotel for the meet. The Cadillacs and LaSalles started rolling in from everywhere. What a parade of beauties. You never get tired of looking at these fabulous cars. Russell couldn’t wait to get out to the field to start looking. I unpacked.

The Allante’ Atlanta Car Club had eight members attending: 4 from Atlanta (Penfields, and Vopelaks); 2 from Tennessee (Neidigs) and 2 from Connecticut (Henry and Francene Flesch). All of us were together for the Welcoming Reception like a small happy family. It was such a pleasure to see Francene and Henry. They drove their 93 Pearl Red Allante’ for showing in the Senior Class. Budd and Darr drove their recently acquired 93 Montana Blue for display.

The rest of the week was tours of Old Boston via a World War II amphibious vessel (a duck). Ask the Penfields and Vopelaks about “quack quack”. We later explored Quincy and the Historic John and Abigail Adams homes and the first Presidential Library. His library collection was astounding, and we didn’t see all his books! I’m not sure any subsequent President since Adams read as avidly or as much as he. The John and Abigail Adams visit was a highlight for us. The National Park Service Guide we had was awesome; he actually made us feel as if we could see John and Abigail throughout the house. A very special visit and one I highly recommend when you’re in New England.

Friday night was the traditional New England Clambake with steamed clams, lobster, potatoes and Boston brown bread. It was a lot different from our Low Country Boils but was tasty and fun to get your fingers in the clams and the lobster. The Clambake was held at the Francis Farm some distance from our hotel. But again we were on the bus and did not have to DRIVE in BOSTON traffic. The Francis Farm definitely knew how to handle about 300 hungry and thirsty people ready to party.

The Grand National Meet came to a close Saturday evening with the Awards Banquet. Two guys from Georgia in the 92-98 Brougham class won First and Second Place. That was Russell with First for the 92 Brougham d’Elegance and Second for Doug Bailey of the Peach State CLC Region for his 96 Brougham. And, another member of the Allante’ Atlanta Car Club, Francene Flesch from CT, won First Place in the Senior Class with her 93 Pearl Red Allante’. Great showings. And by the way, we had the Best of Show Winner, Don Ghareeb of Birmingham, AL sitting at our table. He won for his black 58 Eldorado Brougham. We heard the car had just finished its restoration right before the show. It truly was a beauty; shiny black paint and gorgeous white interior with the suicide doors open and welcoming. It was truly a Best in Show vehicle. We encouraged him to join the Peach State/Allante’ groups for some fall mountain driving.

We all headed home Sunday; the Penfields flying, the Neidigs driving to Darr’s family reunion in PA and the Vopelaks driving on to Hershey, PA for a visit at the AACA Museum there in Hershey. Doug Bailey and Bill Greene of the Peach State Region drove with us and spent a little more time enjoying the vehicles at the Museum.

Monday night in our own bed was so nice……. And for me – no car shows for a short while.

Paula Vopelak - Vice President AACC